Cannibal study darkens mad cow outlook

Jun 23, 2006

A British researcher, using a study of cannibals, warns that mad cow disease may eventually kill lot more humans than is known now.

The findings, published Friday in the British medical journal Lancet, were drawn from a study of cannibals in New Guinea who had enjoyed long lives until they fell victim to a brain-wasting disease.

The research by the University College in London studied kuru, a disease that had taken a heavy toll of the cannibals. It said kuru can incubate for decades but then can start a quick, irreversible descent into dementia and death, reports The New York Times.

"Recent estimates of the size of the vCJD epidemic based on uniform genetic susceptibility could be substantial underestimations," said Dr. John Collinge, the study's lead author. Humans get vCJD, or variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, from cows with mad cow disease.

The Times said several experts on prion diseases, blamed for killing the New Guinea cannibals and British eaters of infected beef, praised the work of the researchers but felt the findings did not prove there will be future waves of deaths among people who ate beef from prion-infected cows in the 1980's. So far about 160 people, mostly in Britain, have died of vCJD.

Collinge said he was not predicting a specific number of deaths. He also said he did not believe the disease is disappearing.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Second western Minnesota turkey farm hit by bird flu outbreak

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Italian olive tree disease stumps EU

9 hours ago

EU member states are divided on how to stop the spread of a disease affecting olive trees in Italy that could result in around a million being cut down, officials said Friday.

Festo has BionicANTs communicating by the rules for tasks

9 hours ago

Germany-based automation company Festo, focused on technologies for tasks, turns to nature for inspiration, trying to take the cues from how nature performs tasks so efficiently. "Whether it's energy efficiency, ...

Jury decides Silicon Valley firm did not discriminate

10 hours ago

A jury decided Friday that a prestigious venture capital firm did not discriminate or retaliate against a female employee in a case that shined a light on gender imbalance and working conditions for women ...

Intel in talks with Altera on tie-up

10 hours ago

US tech giant Intel is in talks with rival Altera on a tie-up to broaden the chipmaker's product line amid growth in Internet-connected devices, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday.

Recommended for you

Third Minnesota turkey farm hit by bird flu outbreak

9 hours ago

An outbreak of a bird flu strain that's deadly to poultry deepened Saturday when state and federal officials confirmed a third Minnesota turkey farm has been infected, this time in one of the state's top poultry producing ...

New way to evaluate meniscus tear outcomes

15 hours ago

An individual's meniscus (cushion in the knee) is one of the most important ligaments in the leg providing stability, load bearing and preservation of the knee joint. It is also one of the most easily injured areas and difficult ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.